“Then said he unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:”
Part of Israel’s problem as to why they ended up doing wrong was the advice they received. The prophets had prophesied lies, and the advice they received was “wicked.” Though the people were ultimately responsible for their own actions, it is no wonder they did wrong because they were given bad advice.
You always have to be careful that the advice you receive is the counsel God wants you to hear. People often go to get advice without any regards as to whether it is good, only to follow the bad advice to their own detriment. Certainly, you shouldn’t waste someone’s time by not following their advice, but you must always be careful that the advice given is not bad advice. How do you determine if the advice you are getting is bad advice?
First, bad advice disagrees with God’s Word. Anytime someone advises you to do something that you know goes directly against the teachings of the Scriptures, you must not follow that advice because it is bad advice. The Scriptures are always the final authority, and you must not allow anything to take you away from what you know is right to do.
Second, bad advice is self-serving. Let’s be honest; the person giving advice is at best still a sinner. As much as a person doesn’t try to make their feelings a part of their advice, it sometimes comes through. When it’s obvious the advice given is for the advantage of the counselor, you might want to look for a second opinion to be sure it’s good advice.
Third, bad advice has nothing to do with faith. The Christian is to live by faith and will only please God when everything they do is by faith. If the advice given takes faith out of the equation, you ought to step back and be sure that what you are told to do agrees with the Scriptures. Good advice always has some element of faith.
Fourth, bad advice directs you backwards instead of forwards. God’s direction is always a forward direction. One reason the Israelites were punished in the wilderness is because they chose to go backwards. Good advice always leads you in a forward motion to do more for Christ.
Fifth, bad advice keeps you from finishing what the LORD commanded you to do. God has never commanded a person to quit. Good advice will counsel you to finish what you started. It is always God’s will for you to finish if He led you to do something.
Sixth, bad advice leads you closer to sin instead of further from it. Bad advice appeases the flesh instead of pleasing the LORD. If the advice you are given causes you to step closer to sin, you can be sure that you are being given bad advice. Good advice pulls you away from sin; it will point you closer to Christ and away from the world. Don’t fall for advice that makes you feel more comfortable in the world and less comfortable in the atmosphere of Christ.
My friend, the best way to keep from getting bad advice is to get counsel from those who epitomize Psalm 1. Everyone needs advice at some time in their life, and that includes you; however, you had better be sure that those who advise you in life are people who are walking close to the LORD and are wise enough to give unselfish advice that leads you closer to God’s will.